Milicz was first mentioned in the papal bull of Innocent II of 1136 as Milich. In 1164–1358 it belonged to the Wrocławskie Duchy. It is not known when it was granted town privileges but at the time the seat of the castellan was located there. In 1358 the bishopric sold the town together with the castellany to Duke Konrad I Oleśnicki. During the Piast Oleśnicki rule a castle was erected and then surrounded with a moat.

The last Piast Oleśnicki died in 1492 and the town with the stronghold fell into the hands of Władysław Jagiellończyk, king of Bohemia, who then passed it to Zygmunt Kurzbach. His sons divided the valley of Barycza between themselves. Thus, two lands under the reign of barons were created: Milicki and Żmigrodzki. Having the status of a free state country in Milicz the family of Kurzbach ruled there until 1590, when the last member of the family, Ewa Popelia got married to baron Joachim III Maltzan. The Maltzmans erected, among others a classicistic palace (1790–1799) and set up the first English landscape garden of Silesia in Milicz. They also contributed to the development of the town and the region. Manufactures of cotton and wool, cloth shop and spinning mills were set up.

In 1742 Milicz with the entire Silesia was annexed by Prussia. In 1809 feudal dependency on counts Maltzman was abolished. In 1816 Milicki district was established.

The end of the 19th century brought about, as in case of the entire Prussia, an economic boom and development of infrastructure. Minor industry began to develop in the town, new buildings were erected and communication network expanded. Suffice to say that in 1914 there were as many as three hotels in the town. In 1850 a new town hall was constructed; then water supply and sewage system were set up. In 1875 a railway station within Oleśnica – Chojnice line was opened up. In 1894 Milicz gained a connection with Żmigród via narrow-gauge Żmigrodzko-Milicka District Railway (Trachenberg-Militscher Kreisbahn Aktiengesellschaft), which in 1899 was connected with Wrocławsko-Trzebnicko-Prusicka narrow-gauge railway (Breslau-Trebnitz-Prausnitzer Kleinbahn Aktiengesellschaft). This connection created a direct route to Wrocław and was of great economic and cultural importance. Before the outbreak of the First World War Milicz had 3780 inhabitants. The local castle held the largest collection of copper-plates in Germany.

During the interwar period Milicz was still the capital of the district. By 1939 the number of its residents increased to 5402 people. The Maltzmans were living in the castle – the last member of the family was famous Maria von Maltzan (1909–1997), a veterinary doctor and activist against Hitler; in 1987 she was awarded Righteous Among the Nations title for saving several dozens of Jews during the Second World War.

On 22nd January 1945 the town was seized by the Red Army. From that moment on Milicz became a Polish town and its German inhabitants were displaced. Since 1999 it has been the capital of the district in Dolnośląskie Province.


Bibliographic note

  • Glatz W., Der Kreis Militsch-Trachenberg an der Bartsch: Heimatbuch eines schlesischen Grenzkreises, Springe/Deister 1965.
  • Powiat milicko-żmigrodzki nad Baryczą, Milicz 2013.